An Unspoken Rule of Arithmetic                          

            It was the usual – 
            The parents passed the wine
            Once they were sure 
            The kids had gone to sleep
            Although the conversation
            Wouldn’t let them rest
            For quite some time –
            And then the silence
            Was a little too uncomfortable

            I naturally abhorred a vacuum
            With the best of them
            So I decided on a whim
            To bring arithmetic to bear

            My partner coughed and waved her hand
            As if to pat me down:
            I paid no heed

            I’d had a glass and,
            Yes, I know that some say
            Drink brings out the truth

            But I could hardly give it credit
            For my declaration, 
            After I had cleared my throat,
            That one plus one
            Was always either
            More or less
            Than two

            (I couldn’t speak for other numerals
            Of course)

            There wasn’t much applause
            But that set off another round
            Of talk about the progeny
            That bore the evening toward its end

            Before we left 
            A lawyer’s wife
            Took me aside

            She had a Ph.D. in Number Theory,
            I was told, and
            Rings around her eyes
            That I could clearly see

            Which I suppose was why
            As things transpired
            She couldn’t seem to get enough
            Of my philosophy


            Emanuel E. García, A Deeper Symmetry2014